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Jeff Kolpack, Published December 02 2013

First Bison playoff game to be available on pay-per-view channel

FARGO – Mat Paulson from Moorhead admits it’s a tough battle to take on ESPN over the airing of FCS playoff games, but he’s not giving up. He’s a driver of a petition aimed at getting the football games on a more traditional ESPN network instead of the online ESPN3 outlet.

For this week at least, the network may be listening. ESPN announced late Monday all remaining FCS playoff games will be available on ESPN GamePlan pay-per-view channel.

“At least it gives people the option for TV,” said Jeremy Jorgenson, NDSU’s director of broadcasting. “It’s pay-per-view but at least it’s on TV.”

Paulson, in a letter to the editor set to run in Wednesday's Forum, isn’t buying ESPN’s explanation that ESPN3 fulfills a contract with the NCAA and instead the rights should be given to local affiliates. A Facebook petition started by University of Montana fans should be orchestrated at FCS schools across the country, Paulson said.

Paulson said only about 10 percent of Montana fans have access to Grizzly games. Montana hosts Coastal Carolina Saturday with the winner of that game playing the winner of NDSU-Furman.

It’s not the first FCS battle with ESPN.

In 2011, North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad and Rep. Rick Berg got involved and helped get NDSU’s quarterfinal game with Lehigh University (Pa.) on the pay-per-view ESPN GamePlan channel.

“Even pay-per-view I can accept,” Paulson said. “But when it’s online, who’s going to watch it on a smartphone or laptop computer?”

So, barring any more changes, here’s how best to watch the Bison-Furman game on TV:

• Pay the fee on GamePlan or find a local bar or restaurant that is going to air the game.

• If you don’t want to pay, ESPN3 is still an option. Watch it on your home computer with the best connection being a video game system like Xbox, which you can hook up to the biggest TV you have. Or hook a computer up to a TV through a connection. Be advised you need an authorized internet provider like Cable One or Midcontinent Communications cable that carries ESPN3.

• Midcontinent subscribers in Moorhead and West Fargo can watch it on their smartphones through Watch ESPN app. Cable One customers in Fargo can only watch it through Cable One internet.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia